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October 20, 2015

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 2 | SCI-NEWS 22

Commentary: Albert Einstein used to be a great scientist, but now it seems like he’s just coasting

By Dr. Greg Kesler

greg keslerThere are certain expectations when you become a scientist. Every year, you’re expected to apply for multiple grants, teach several courses a semester, and publish as many papers as possible in influential journals.

This is the code by which scientists live, the expectations of us when we join its ranks. So, we feel cheated when we hear of a scientist that is ‘coasting’, that is, not actively applying for grants or writing papers. Sadly, today I must report that one of those scientists who might be coasting is Albert Einstein.

Or, I should say that one of those scientists was Albert Einstein, because he’s been coasting so much lately that I don’t even consider him a scientist anymore. I took a quick look at his publication record recently and found out that he hasn’t published a paper since 1955! And that was an interview he gave to Scientific American! Interviews shouldn’t count towards publications! If so, then I’ve got a couple that I gave to my daughter’s third-grade class that I could submit.

In addition, I had to go to Wikipedia to find his publications because he doesn’t even have a laboratory webpage! What kind of scientist today doesn’t even have a webpage! I feel sorry for his graduate students. Oh, wait, I’m sorry, it appears that he currently doesn’t have any graduate students. Must be pretty easy to unify mass-energy equivalence with the concepts of space and time when you don’t have any graduate students to babysit. And don’t even get me started on the fact that as a professor at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, he doesn’t have to teach any courses.

Look, I realize that Einstein has made some great discoveries when he was still an active researcher. But that shouldn’t excuse him or anyone from slacking off and, in the process, blocking the path of a younger, energetic scientist that is eager to make some more influential scientific progress.

So, c’mon Einstein, I’m pointing the finger squarely at you. You used to be a great scientist. Now, it’s time to reclaim that greatness. Here’s an idea: why don’t you agree to be a co-author with me on a paper I’m working on? I’ll even let you be the corresponding author.

 

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